Most recent issue of CA

Eric_West's picture

I was at BN tonight, and I picked up the most recent issue of CA. Now I really like CA, so don't think I'm knocking it. See cover. I'd like to hear thoughts on the illlustration, whether it's implied meaning (commercialization/exploitation) could have been expressed with more clarity and sophistication. My thoughts after a few seconds were, the illustration was repeating itself multiple times over, given the audience (us) the point would be made immediately w/o the swoosh or 'pod buds. IMHO

hrant's picture

BTW Laurence, I suddenly remembered there's a
handy archival shot of your gestapo trenchcoat:
http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=12970936&size=o _
And I think I have a better photo stashed somewhere,
from when the three of us were fooling around those
gargantuan pencils in that strange public park.
Leipzig is so so amazing. I actually stayed there
another two nights after the conference, walking
around almost the whole time, I liked it so much.
It totally made up for the... light, shall we say,
conference that year.

Oh, and really, Adam shouldn't talk. On his way to the
gala dinner he was dressed like a... I dunno, you tell me!
http://flickr.com/photos/adamt/20202942/

hhp

RN Lee's picture

"That’s what a superpower does; and that’s why things were better when we had two of them."

Things were better when we had two of them? Is this another example of being about reality rather than formal accuracy or whatever?

timd's picture

fearful symmetry?
William Blake 1757-1827: 'The Tiger' (1794)

Tim

ER's picture

Hrant, my friend, I missed you, this is too much fun!

"Try to make a text typeface (one that other people would pay for and use) then you might see something else."

Try to make a drawing (that otherr people would pay for and publish) and you might see something else too. And about all your subconscious type talk: I spend much of my time looking at drips and shapes and abstractions, so the subconscious is not a domain of text type alone.

Another thing, does the world absolutely need more text type? Is all of it not a complete luxury at this point? I would say the same about illustration, paintings, and imagery in general. I'm just in touch with how much of a luxury all of it is, and I love it. You bring it to such a high state and end up sounding like a fine artist most of the time who thinks he'll change the world through his work. Besides designers, the world could care less if all text type was in helvetica I think. Where I come from most people communicate by just writing things down or hand painted signs and it seems to work just fine. Let me know, I'm really just here to learn. I have a great respect for type, as you do, but we differ on the reasons I think.

And for the fifth time, enlighten me with what I should call this place. Or do you want to keep treating me like the American kids did in third grade? Just laughing because I didn't speak the language.

er

timd's picture

>And for the fifth time, enlighten me with what I should call this place

Forum neatly covers it I think.
Tim

ER's picture

Aaahh! thanks, Tim!

William Berkson's picture

> does the world absolutely need more text type?

Absolutely need? No. Would it benefit? Yes.

Text type is definitely not only a problem of 'decoration'. It is also a problem of readability. The challenge of readable type has been regularly renewed by continually changing technology--both printing technology and how type is produced.

For example, in the changeover to digital type, most of the classic designs--which had meanwhile been put into photo type--were initially too light. This mistake is still being corrected.

And now we have the challenge of relatively low resolution screen type (eg 96 dpi vs 2700 dpi for print). That is why people are interested in what others use for e-mail. Basically all screen type is bad--not as readable as print--and the question is how to make it better. People are looking for clues. And Microsoft has invested a lot in developing the new Clear Type technology and fonts for screen.

Also on the aesthetic side, I don't think the word 'decoration' quite captures what is going on. A typeface is like a 'voice' of the printed word. If you have a beautiful voice delivering a message, like a great actor, it is going to emotionally color it in a better way, even though you are not conscious of the voice, but rather are consciously focusing on the message. So for different purposes you want different type faces, just as different voices in song or acting.

By the way, I think Hrant and are in close agreement about this!

hrant's picture

Edel, a lot more than type is a luxury. But making a new text type is
a lot less "luxurious" than making a display type, or an illustration.

Text type is in a "high state" exactly because it's not fine art. And almost none of us do it to change the world (although some of my own type does have a "political" angle - but that's extremely rare in the field). Mostly we do it because we enjoy it. In spite of everything. But that doesn't make it art - as long as the point is to serve others, and not merely express.

In everything a person does, he strikes a balance between
pleasing himself and accomodating society. Each of strikes a
different balance, depending on so many things, including
much that's completely out of our hands.

Everything in Helvetica?! NOW you can leave. ;-)

And we were thinking Vignelli needs retraining:
http://typophile.com/node/19950

Yeah, and what William said. (Except for "all screen type is bad",
which I think does contain a truth, but is misleading overall.)

hhp

Paul Cutler's picture

Don't get so uppity Señor Rodriguez.

When someone has taken the time to study something long enough to realize it's full of mystery you should appreciate that.

Like a moth to a flame you declare this thread bores you and then return.

There didn't seem to be a lot of subconscious thought going on in your cover. Pretty overt I would say.

It might as well have been an ad for Apple or Nike. Go ahead. Think Different…

ER's picture

Man, as usual I'm the one in the room saying the wrong thing. Always happens at parties too. Cutler is usually so poetic, got all street on me now!

No disrespect meant. Sometimes, the best way to get good answers is to question people.

>Like a moth to a flame you declare this thread bores you and then return.
The thread doesn't bore me, It's just personally embarrassing to keep endlessly talking about my work, me, me, me! My parents would scold me. Interested in other things it's brought up, maybe that wasn't clear. See, type doesn't clear anything up, it's just about the darn language.

I pretty much agree with all that you have to say. I don't know if it has been made clear. I am both an illustrator and designer. I work with type all the time, on magazine redesigns, posters, etc. I have to make all these decisions about legibility and poetry and "voice". None of this is new to me guys.

My point is that the beautiful voices are not only the domain of type, there is illustration, and photo, etc. And when Paul and Hrant start talking about text type it tends to sound very elitist. It's what turned me off to "fine" arts.

I agree, that "Vignelli" guy is nuts, and I wouldn't even write to my in-laws in helvetica. The more type the better, so many moods, voices, etc. But, you have to ask yourselves sometimes, as I do about myself, who is noticing?

I've sat there with my family, who are not highly educated, as well as with highly educated editors and writers. Pointed out the kerning, the poetry of the text type, on and on. People don't see it. I know, it's in their subconscious, but we're putting a lot of our faith in that subconscious aren't we? So, sometimes, I start wondering if we're just preaching to the choir.

er

timd's picture

And sometimes even the choir switch off, you should search out some of the legibility and readability threads – try repeating some of that to a client (or parent), but it really isn't elitist just passionate and ultimately a lot more use than some fine arts.
Tim

ER's picture

"as long as the point is to serve others, and not merely express."
"In everything a person does, he strikes a balance between pleasing himself and accomodating society."

Hrant, how can you make these very good statements that I agree with and call society "little people" and "peons" at the same time. Just wondering, that's all.

er

hrant's picture

> it tends to sound very elitist.

I think you're confusing "elitist" with "esoteric".

> who is noticing?

The interesting paradox with text type is that the reader actually shouldn't notice anything (unless he happens to be type-conscious, then he's basically cursed with the bane of awareness, and can no longer really read. :-). The reason is that if he does, the content suffers (and type, or really any design, is primarily about servitude, at least to me). This doesn't mean different text fonts are all the same however - because:

> we’re putting a lot of our faith in that subconscious aren’t we?

I tend to think we don't put enough faith in it, especially in the West.
Things here tend to be so literal and in-your-face, it's demeaning as the
human animals that we are. Subtlety, ambiguity, the gray - those are
what really count I think.

hhp

ER's picture

>I think you’re confusing “elitist” with “esoteric”

And Paul said I was uppity. You're right, None of us are elitist or uppity, we're all just esoteric:

a. Intended for or understood by only a particular group: an esoteric cult.
b. Of or relating to that which is known by a restricted number of people.

Still trying to figure out this damn language.

E.R.

enne_son's picture

I think the image is graphically (optical-grammatically) as accomplished as any text type. It relies on a well-considered juxtaposition of white and black (notan).

Additionally it relies on a strategic fusion / friction of iconic images. That is, it relies on, or exploits, the friction of images with a huge store of tacit, ambiant, positive and negative associational baggage: political, socio-cultural, ideological. This is what it does. It exploits these things in a primitive pre 'conceptually-fixed' state.

That makes it at once iconoclastic, unsettling, and engagingly satirical. A hoot and and an outrage. My / my generation's allegences then and now are interrogated. I am asked: what happened?

I am not told what to think, because the image is not a front for a readily circumscribable message. I am just presented with a stark juxtaposition. My baggage relative to these iconic markers is the echo chamber or amplifier for the interference pattern set in motion by a simple juxtaposition. I am asked to consider the meaning for me of these iconic things and I am asked to consider the meaning of their co-inherence in one image. If I have no baggage the image passes me by and I pass it by. If I interrogate it, it interrogates me.

The image acts. It has a place.

ER's picture

Well Cutler, forgive me just one more about my damn work:

I just wanted it to be a mirror, that's all.

and enne_son got it.

er

hrant's picture

> enne_son got it.

Wait, so because he likes your work he's not elitist or esoteric?
I'll have you know, Peter is our mage of esoterica.

hhp

ER's picture

hhp,
Well, we've decided no one here is elitist haven't we. He is esoteric, as I've determined we all are. Anybody that says "tacit" and "ambiant" is. maybe I need to get over the language thing.

But he also said it was a "hoot". That's not esoteric. I don't think you'd ever use that word. :)))

er

Paul Cutler's picture

Some like it, some don't. Sounds pretty normal to me.

peace

Phil Baber's picture

I have not followed this thread and I'm not going to read
it all through, but that cover is utter cliche crap. It's exactly
what 16 year olds do for their art GCSE every summer.

ER's picture

As I've said before, I've always wanted to be seventeen, or sixteen, all over again. You got it too!

I mean, really, for me to get utter cliche crap on the cover of Communication Arts has to be a some brilliant sort of coup, don't you think? Hrant, do you catch what I'm saying here.

er

Paul Cutler's picture

quote - I mean, really, for me to get utter cliche crap on the cover of Communication Arts has to be a some brilliant sort of coup, don’t you think?

It's right up there with Castro. :)

I congratulate you on getting the cover, and I mean that sincerely.

peace

hrant's picture

The thing is, what's not cliche about it is unknowable without your textual elaboration. SO/HOWEVER: if a reader thinks one thing upon seeing the cover, but realizes it means something else (and like I said, nearly the opposite) upon actually reading something inside the magazine, that could be seen as a nice bit of communicative playfulness. Some people though won't appreciate the opposition between what played a part in getting them to buy the magazine versus the views of the person who created it. On the other hand, it's nice to expose people to views in spite of themselves.

And I'm not sure what caused CA to go with that cover.
The reasons could just as likely be good or bad.

hhp

fontplayer's picture

Does this horse have 9 lives?
: )

William Berkson's picture

On the cliche factor.

The first time this visual idea was done I believe was when the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, in spring of 2004. There was a sickening picture of an Iraqi prisoner, hooded, with fake electric wires used to mentally torture him. Some wit put the ipod earphones instead, and the posters appeared around NYC. Brilliant.

Now reusing the same idea could be stale, but I think the quite different context that Edel has used gives the idea enough freshness to be interesting and thought provoking, as this thread shows.

ER's picture

I think Cutler is coming around!

To some degree you have to understand me. I can be straight up, heartfelt, mean what I say, etc. Which are aspects of this thing, the changing Cuba, Capitalism coopting things, graying boomer, etc.. There are many reads, like a mirror, you see a reflection, or you look past it.

But I can also be a deviant. And to just imagine the illustration/design intelligentsia, of which there are some out there folks, open their mailbox, and get THIS thing. I mean it's priceless. I have other illustrator friends that did covers for their stories and bent over backwards to do the most original thing ever. I would have loved to have seen some esoteric design and illustration world faces when they got this. I couldn't see them, so I looked for chat rooms or "forums" instead. And I grew to like you!

For the record, my work was on their cover in 2004 Illustration Annual as well, something they chose out of the many submissions, just a very pretty piece of art. So I just wanted to have some "communicative playfulness" with this one instead.

er

fontplayer's picture

One thing's for sure, if it caused this much discussion anywhere else, even accumulatively, it did as much as you could ask of an image.

enne_son's picture

more esoterica: once the author has supplied a textual elaboration the cliché rich droppings stops smelling (i.e., stop doing their work)

ER's picture

Am I losing the cowboy? I can't tell! Hrant? er

Paul Cutler's picture

I resent that. I'm the one from Phoenix!

peace

ER's picture

>I mean, really, for me to get utter cliche crap on the cover of Communication Arts has to be a some brilliant sort of coup, don’t you think?
>It’s right up there with Castro. :)

"HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE!"

>"Does this horse have 9 lives?: )"

What does it take to get on that damn "HOTTEST" list anyways?

The "What are you listening to" thread is hot on our trails folks. Come on, let's get it to 300 :) Show'em what you got. Post the name of your cat, delicious recipe, whatever! Anybody got a good chili recipe out there? I mean, that's a good 40 extra posts.

Or maybe we could stop, but can-we-contain-ourselves?!!!! :)

er

dezcom's picture

"What does it take to get on that damn “HOTTEST” list anyways?"

This thread was already on that list. After being on it a few days, threads are removed from it to give other threads a chance. Otherwise, only old threads would be there. Besides, this one has kind of run its course and is beginning to repeat itself. Just think of it as having gone into syndication but off the major networks :-)

ChrisL

ER's picture

Thanks Chris,

I was just messing there, you're always the voice of reason and clarity around here anyways. It's been great getting to know you, in a digital way. Great logo there by the way, and love the thing you did with the i-pod too.
Yes, this is going in circles, I look forward to joining some of the other type talk at some point. Difficult though, always a little intimidated by the real type pros. Hrant, Cutler, and Sorkin will swiftly cut me down to size in one of those threads.

er

Paul Cutler's picture

For your info, Edel, I am not a type designer and don't want to be. I came here to research the smallest component of what I use in my designs, the glyph.

That's how I started anyway…

My main passion is music, design is my career.

peace

fontplayer's picture

I was trying to imagine how this would look with a rainbow wig like that guy in the end-zone. I didn't know how to do that in a two color gif.

Paul Cutler's picture

Better watch that first step fontplayer - it's a long way to the bottom… :)

peace

ER's picture

Thanks! I'll link over to the Southern Baptist Convention, should get us over the 500 mark!

fontplayer's picture

Why stop there? ; )

ER's picture

I thought I was controversial! you're nuts! I'm getting out of here, good luck man. er

Paul Cutler's picture

Your kerning is appalling. :)

Edit - much better job at kerning but I don't know about that pink…

peace

fontplayer's picture

So, that was over the top? (darn!)

ER's picture

"I thought I was controversial! you’re nuts! I’m getting out of here, good luck man. "

By this I meant the kerning too! We are on Typophile, they're watching.

No, keep the homophobic AND make it pink — Now, there's a "concept"! Not so easy is it? ;) I'm still getting out, you're screwed either way. er

ER's picture

Making good "utter cliche crap" takes years and years of study! stick to making the good stuff. er

fontplayer's picture

I’m still getting out, you’re screwed either way

I've been known to be controversial, but this was just meant as a joke. But some people are still probably sensitive about my previous indescretions, so I'm going with delirious.

ER's picture

fontplayer, a tool of the man. :)

Miss Tiffany's picture

Dennis, some of your "jokes" have been found, previously, by other typophiles as humorless. I'm glad you changed that one. Let's continue to self-edit when we know we should.

fontplayer's picture

fontplayer, a tool of the man.

I'm all for "power to the people" except the people tend to suck. As soon as you give 'em power, they screw it up 100% of the time.

fontplayer's picture

Let’s continue to self-edit when we know we should.

I was hoping it could be taken in good-humor, especially when I have wrongly been called that myself, but when a controversial person thought it was too controversial, I knew I had to change it.

Kind of like the time I was visiting a rodeo in N. Texas, and lightning was 360 degrees around, and the guy from Oklahoma in front of me said "I don't like the looks of this!", I started to worry.
; )

ER's picture

See Eric, they're watching! It's just like 1984 around here.

And, for the record, Miss Tiffany, Che was HOMOPHOBIC. No need to censor the truth.

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